Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander met with members of the media following Tuesday’s practice. Chinander talked about the depth of the defense and the competition for starting positions.
“Some guys are solidified and there are still positions (not),” Chinander said. “Take the nickels for example. Right now it is ‘or or or’ and I have to see who is going to have the best practice and it might be like that all year. I feel like we have three competent guys right now, and it might be whoever practices the best that week gets to go out there for the first snap. I assume all those guys are going to play and they are all playing on special teams. Just like it is at some other positions. We have the luxury right now of having some guys that can all go out there and be a starter. I think it is a great problem to have because we have to have a good practice now or you do not get to walk out there first.”
Chinander explained some of Northwestern’s strengths.
“Today was the first day we introduced some things from Northwestern,” he said. “Obviously Coach Fitzgerald always brings a very disciplined operation. They are going to know what they are supposed to do. They are going to do it right. They are not going to make errors. They are not going to have penalties. I really respect what they do on offense. They also have one of the best tackles in the league and they have a running back that is really good. I expect them to come out and try to run the ball and be physical and their quarterback now has a lot of experience in this league too. I think that he is going to be able to deliver the ball where it needs to go. I have a lot of respect for their team.”
He also spoke on Nebraska’s offensive progression.
“I think the offense has done a tremendous job transitioning from the spring to the fall,” Chinander said. “I know in springtime they wanted to get the new offense put in and there was a lot of stuff getting thrown at those guys. Now it is the second time through for them and they have done a really good job. They have given us some really tough looks both in the pass game and the run game. It has been great for us because we have got to look at a lot of different things. There should not be anything that anybody throws out there where we are like ‘Oh man we do not know how to fit that or we do not know how to line up to that formation,’ because our offense has done a great job with giving it to us. They have a ton of playmakers over there too. So I am excited to watch those guys get the ball in their hands and run around when it is not us trying to tackle them.”
The Huskers return to the practice field tomorrow as they prep for the season opener on Saturday, Aug. 27 against Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland at 11:30 a.m. (CT) on FOX.